It’s been a week since Matt Harvey failed to show up for a game, triggering a three-day suspension and a whirlwind of rumors. There’s been plenty of talk in that time on what Harvey was really doing the night before his no-show, whether it’s a sign of a more serious problem, and how competently the Mets have handled the situation—but not so much on what it might mean for Harvey as a pitcher. He made his return last night, after the team pushed back a scheduled start earlier this week in order to avoid for Harvey to avoid the “hostile environment” of his home park, and it was ugly.
Harvey lasted five innings and change against the Brewers, giving up five runs on three homers and five walks. That’s about as well as he’d been pitching lately—which is to say, not so well at all, following two straight starts of allowing six runs in fewer than six innings.
His velocity is still down from where it was before his struggle with thoracic outlet syndrome, but his last few starts have seen him throwing harder than he was at the start of the year, with his fastball now sitting solidly in the mid-90s. Instead, the problem is his command—which is all but gone, as can be seen pretty clearly in a strikezone plot from last night:
The Mets currently have three starting pitchers on the disabled list (Steven Matz, Seth Lugo and Noah Syndergaard), and a competent Harvey is probably a near non-negotiable if the team wants to keep its head above water in the meantime. Lately, though, that just hasn’t looked possible—and he didn’t do anything to help his case last night.